A developer wants to build five townhomes on the site to match those already in the neighborhood.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The historic Ewalt House in Lawrenceville is being demolished today.

Seeing the nearly 200-year-old Ewalt home being razed gives Beth Rupert a sense of relief.

“That my family, at night, is no longer going to worry that the house is going to fall down and hurt someone,” said Rupert.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer

Rupert and her husband inherited the home when her father-in-law died four years ago. She says it’s been listed for sale for three years, and though there were several sale agreements, those interested in the home were denied by banks because it needs too many improvements.

“Anyone could have come and bought this house for fair market value if they wanted it,” she told KDKA’s Lisa Washington.

Rupert is working with a developer, who wants to build five townhomes on the site to match those already in the neighborhood. But that has met some resistance.

She said late last year, the Lawrenceville Stakeholders submitted an application for the home to be designated as an historical site.

Rupert says the home does not meet the criterion for a Greek Revival home.

“It is not a true Greek Revival, which we’ve proven time again. It’s been changed many times, additions put on, windows changed,” she said as she stood in front of the house on Home Avenue waiting for the demolition to begin Wednesday morning.

Further, Rupert says that Samuel Ewalt, one of the early Allegheny County sheriffs, was not significant.

About the home, Rupert says, “We had a demolition permit on the house well before the historical nomination on this house.”

She said the home has significant structural damage, including damage from a wind burst last August.

“This is unjust,” Rupert said. “We don’t have the money to maintain this house and nor should we have to. It’s our right to tear this house down.”

Rupert says what’s most important to her, is having peace of mind, and not another piece of property.